Shooting is a Perishable Skill… so Practice
Dr. John Woods 01.07.21
Writer David Freeman at American Handgunner has postulated that “shooting is a perishable skill.” Indeed it is. Like staying on top of your game of golf, tennis, crossword puzzles, snag catching salmon on the Kenai, or other such life tasks, if you don’t keep doing it on a regular basis you are likely to forget how, or at least get real bad at it.
You know the line “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” That goes for onions left in the bottom drawer of the food pantry, or a pound of burger hiding behind the butter in the fridge. It also counts big time for shooting skills.
Shooting very well takes time and effort. Even if you do the right thing by taking a shooting course as a beginner to learn how to shoot correctly or advanced training to upgrade your shooting skills, you have to maintain an active regimen of practice so the skills are not dulled or lost altogether.
Shooting is not like riding a bike. You can let that bike rust up in the garage, then ten years later dust it off, air up the tires, and ride it down the driveway. Shooting any gun, rifle, shotgun, or particularly a handgun is not like that. When you learn to shoot a gun properly the first time, you learn a lot of coordination, mind and muscle skills that have to be maintained.
Shouldering a long run or gripping a pistol is more than just picking it up and holding on. Think about the breathing sequences you learn to adopt to shoot a rifle or handgun well. Getting those crosshairs to hold still on a way out there target is actually a learned skill. And it takes a while and a lot of ammo to get it right.
Consider trigger control for any gun but more precisely for a handgun. Positioning the trigger finger pad on the trigger has to be properly taught, and continually practiced to implant the skill into your physical and mental databank. Eventually it will become second nature for most people that practice and shoot regularly.
Shooting practice is paramount to attaining and retaining the skills to shoot well, so this “perishable skill” doesn’t perish. Without regular updating at the range with some formal and informal shooting, those hard earned shooting skills can easily go dormant or lost altogether. It’s too big an investment in time, energy and money to waste it away by a lack of use.